Earlier this month, regional Victoria moved to Stage 3 ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions to help slow the spread of coronavirus in Victoria. Under these restrictions, many workplaces have found themselves significantly affected. With many unable to operate as normal, and some unable to open at all, there has been an increase in financial and social stress for both employers and their employees. It’s a difficult time for everyone, but we must remember that we’re in this together.
Not only is our health at risk if we don’t comply with the restrictions, but the future of businesses and the local economy is at stake too. It’s vital for employers and employees to follow Government instructions to avoid any potential media and public scrutiny. Anyone found to be breaking the rules could seriously damage their company’s safety reputation, which could be fatal to the business going forward.
The shared obligations of employers and employees to do the right thing mirror the principles of their relationship at any time as prescribed by health and safety legislation. This means an attitude of mutual care, safe workplace practices, attention to detail and following applicable rules and guidelines to ensure a safer working environment. Put simply, if we stick to the rules, positive results will follow.
Being a responsible employee and colleague
Ensure you’re maintaining good personal hygiene and sticking to the 1.5m apart physical distancing rule.
If your role involves cleaning around the workplace, make sure you’re following the correct procedures to protect your colleagues from the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
Alert your employer if you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, and then get tested as soon as possible and stay at home during your isolation period. If your test results come back positive, notify your employer immediately.
Being a responsible employer
Employers should have a Pandemic or Infectious Diseases Plan setting out how they address safety and operations in the event of an outbreak. Ensure to review this policy to ensure it meets your current needs.
As an employer, you have a duty under WHS/OHS legislation to provide information regarding the health and safety in the workplace to employees. Make sure to provide regular updates to your workforce about the status of COVID-19 that are in line with the information provided by the Department of Health and WHO.
Allow employees to work from home if they’re able to do so. It’s also important to encourage them to ask questions and raise concerns with you.
We recommend asking your workforce to alert you immediately if they are suffering from flu-like symptoms. If they suspect that they are experiencing symptoms of Covid-19, employers should respond according to their Pandemic Plan. You should ask that they do not attend work during the risk period, and that they seek medical advice before returning to work.
For more information on creating a Covid safe workplace, visit Business Victoria’s website here.